WINDHOEK- Many Namibians who are accorded the opportunity to study abroad do the bare minimum, study, finish and return home.
But that does not apply to Shaandre Finnies. He is impacting the world through his youth activism by taking part in events and discussions that are youth-related on an international scale. Namibian born and bred, he is studying at Ankara University in Turkey. Finnies has been selected as a One Young World Peace Ambassador for 2019. He is faced with a lot of tasks under this new realm, “the primary responsibilities as a One Young World Peace Ambassador include continuous work in conflict resolution, promoting social cohesion and tackling violence,” he says. ‘’ Secondary to these, I also attend various One Young World events across the world where I speak to young people who are active in their communities.” The process of being chosen was vigorous. “This was a competitive and rigorous process with many essays and interviews to which I won the scholarship to represent Namibia,” he said.
Finnies took a keen interest in attending the One Young World Summit in The Hague which took place in October 2018. He initially applied for a scholarship to attend the summit. ‘’Subsequently, I was named a Peace Ambassador by One Young World and the European Commission,” he states. Finnies was informed that he was selected based on his work as a young leader in Namibia, which was based on him being the Deputy Speaker of the Namibian Children’s Parliament, an Anti-GBV advocate for UNICEF Namibia and as Leader of Majority in the CPA African Youth Parliament to mention but a few. Finnies’ achievements continue, “More so, at the beginning of 2018 I founded an NGO called Empateamwork with a German colleague of mine, the NGO is registered in Germany and will soon also be accredited in Namibia,” informs he.
According to him the basis of our work is to create a cross-cultural exchange between German and Namibian youth, while actively seeking funding to establish grassroots empowerment programmes and projects across Namibia. The main focus of this initiative, for now, is on communities who are historically affected by the Genocide against the Ovaherero and Nama.
When tasked with these responsibilities, it is difficult to handle everything all at once. “I think the biggest challenge might be the desire to do more work in Namibia but due to study commitments I am unable to be on the ground often enough,” he says. The advantage of this is he doesn’t work alone. “I don’t operate alone and there are many colleagues in Namibia who share and understand the vision. Finnies also serves as the Namibia National Students Organisation (Nanso’s) ambassador to the Middle East and as a result, have access to a wide network of young Nanso activists.
Being a youth activist is a daunting task. “We don’t do this for money or any form of compensation and at the same time one has various responsibilities, such as family, education and so on,” he points out adding that it is imperative that young people understand their roles in Namibia. “I’m not calling on everyone to be an activist, however, our communities need vigilant young people who are involved in any form of community work,” he pleads.
Finnies continues that it is a generational duty. “Namibia is ours, and we have an inherent responsibility towards it,” he emphasises.
New Era Reporter
2019-03-06 10:41:17 6 months ago